Blues gamble on new halves pairing for Origin
SYDNEY (AP) — New South Wales coach Laurie Daley has dropped troubled halfback Mitchell Pearce and opted for a new playmaking combination in a bid to end Queensland’s eight-year dominance of the State of Origin.
Daley announced his team Tuesday, giving Canterbury Bulldogs halves Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds starts in the bitter, annual interstate series that kicks off next week in Brisbane.
Hodkinson replaced Pearce, who is apparently paying for a recent off-field indiscretion at a Sydney nightclub. Reynolds, who was on the Blues interchange bench last season, replaces James Maloney.
Daniel Tupou, who plays at Sydney Roosters with Pearce and Maloney, will make his Origin debut on the wing. With Greg Bird and Boyd Cordner unavailable, Beau Scott and Ryan Hoffman were selected in the second row.
New South Wales: Jarryd Hayne, Brett Morris, Josh Morris, Michael Jennings, Daniel Tupou, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, James Tamou, Ryan Hoffman, Beau Scott, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Anthony Watmough, Tony Williams, Trent Merrin, Luke Lewis.